03 June 2012

Shipbreaking raises a stink:

CHENNAI: Fisherfolk are crying foul over the breaking of two decommissioned Coast Guard vessels near the Ennore river mouth saying that the release of toxic waste will affect their livelihood.

The two ships were obtained by a private scrap agent, who had berthed the vessels in the area for dismantling. According to a fishermen’s association, Nettukuppam, Thalanguppam, Ennore Kuppam, Mugathuvaram Kuppam, and Kattu Kuppam are among the villages that would be affected due to the ship breaking.

“Dismantling of one of the ships has reached an advanced state,” said K Bharathi, president of South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association. “Shipbreaking is an extremely hazardous activity that requires carrying out of an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and public hearing under the EIA notification, 2006. Besides, permission under the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 will have to be obtained,” Bharathi observed.

Bharathi has written to the Union Environment and Forests Secretary regarding the “violation” of the CRZ notification 2011. Besides, he has also made representations to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the District Collector of Thiruvallur, who is also the chairman of District Coastal Zone Management Committee, seeking their intervention.

“The operation was halted following the intervention of the officials but it has resumed on Thursday,” Bharathi said.

He also noted that fishing in that area had already been adversly affected because of the release of toxic effluents from the upstream industries. “The shipbreaking would further worsen the livelihood of the fisherfolk who depend on the river for fishing,” he said.

Source: IBN Live. By R Prince Jebakumar. 2 June 2012

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